For All Survivors of Rape & Sexual Abuse
We are proud that you are here. We're sorry that you have reason to be, but we are glad that you are seeking out resources as you heal. We believe that knowledge and community aid in healing, and Pandora's Project offers both.
We hope you remember these things:
You are not alone.
You might feel isolated and like no one can comprehend what you're going through. Join the Pandora's Aquarium online support group to see just how many people out there truly understand.
Some of you have no support in your life. Some of you have a therapist, but the week between sessions might leave you feeling alone. Some of you have friends and family who try to understand, but you still feel like you need something more. Please join the message board and chat room - even if you aren't ready to reach out or don't want to post, just reading can make a big difference.
You can find people who understand.
There is a wealth of knowledge and support that can be gained from those who've been there - and those who are going through it too. The Pandora's Aquarium community has survivors in all stages of healing.
It was not your fault.
So many survivors blame themselves for what happened. But remember that only one person made the choice to hurt you: your perpetrator. You are not to blame for someone else's choice.
It gets better.
When you're feeling low, it's hard to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are willing to walk that tunnel, you will find support from Pandora's Project until you reach its end.
One of our Founders wrote the following:
When you first begin dealing with sexual violence, it is like you've been handed a huge boulder you must carry. The boulder is heavy, and it hurts to carry. You always feel burdened by it. It's always scratching you and hurting your hands and shoulders. Even when you're doing other things, that boulder is always on your mind; you can't just leave it at home. You're always thinking about it.
But, gradually, as you carry that boulder around, it erodes and becomes smaller. It becomes easier to carry, less burdensome. It's still painful and frustrating, but you can focus on other things too. The boulder keeps getting smaller and smaller, as time passes, you work through therapy, talk to other survivors, and tell your story.
Eventually the huge boulder is no bigger than a pebble. It will never go away, but at this size, you can put it your pocket. Every once in awhile you feel it, but the pain is manageable. It's still part of you, but it doesn't define you. You can take it out when you need to, to look at it and remember, but you can also keep it hidden from view. You've taken a huge, rocky boulder and turned into a small, smooth stone. You have reclaimed your life.
-Shannon L. (From Sexual Violence & Grief)
There is no "right" way to heal.
We all heal differently and Pandora's Project respects that. We have resources for you no matter where you are in the healing process. We understand that sexual violence isn't something you can just "get over." It is a process, and we are here to help you as you recover.
You can move beyond being a victim.
It is our belief that all survivors can move from victim to survivor to thriver. You may never be exactly who you were before, but you can emerge from this pain stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.
Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
- A.A. Milne